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13 Leftovers That Taste Better Cold

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by Danielle Walsh

Yeah, we know: We told you how to reheat everything from pasta to pizza to pancakes. Some things are just better when they're hot. But not everything! Some foods -- even if they were served fresh out of the pan or the oven the night before -- are even better when they're cold. And it's these things that give us that little snacky pleasure: a piece of steak plucked from the fridge and sprinkled with flaky sea salt; fried chicken that makes up in cohesiveness what it lacks in hot crunch; lasagna eaten out of the pan by the spoonful. No, it's not a precise science -- you might even disagree with us. But there are just some leftovers that taste great out of the freezer, pulled from the refrigerator, or eaten after it's been sitting on the counter for a while. Here are 13 of our staff's favorites.

  • STEAK
    "Steak. Love the texture when the intramuscular fat solidifies, you can eat it with your hands, and flaky Maldon sea salt just does wonders even for crappy London broil." —Scott DeSimon, deputy editor
  • FRIED CHICKEN
    "Fried chicken, room temperature. You can eat it as quickly as possible since it ain't hot. I always burn my mouth cause I can't wait. But the outside batter sticks to the meat so it doesn't peel off as easily. You get all the batter and meat in one bite. It becomes one." —Andrew Knowlton, restaurant and drinks editor
  • FRITTATA
    "When you're hungry, nothing is as satisfying as leftover frittata. Eggs, potato, and peppers are now compressed and at the perfectly sponge-y consistency, all wonderfully infused with fried flavor." —Joanna Sciarrino, assistant editor
  • Thin Mints
    "Thin Mints. Something happens to the cookie—it takes on a flakiness it doesn't have when room temp." —Dawn Perry, senior food editor
  • MEATLOAF
    "Well, the only thing better than meatloaf is a cold meatloaf sandwich the next day, with lots of mayo and either ketchup or Dijon (depends on my mood). Potato chips on the side, obvs." —Adam Rapoport, editor in chief
  • PASTA
    "I know it's veering dangerously close to pasta salad territory, but pasta with pesto. And porchetta." —Christine Muhlke, executive editor
  • ROASTED CHICKEN
    "A roasted or rotisserie chicken." —Alison Roman, senior associate food editor
  • MAPO TOFU
    "When I have a bad day, there's nothing I want more than mapo tofu that's heavy on the ground pork. But I like it even more cold, for breakfast the next morning, when the spice jolts you awake and the texture of the tofu almost makes you feel like you're eating oatmeal…just a way spicier and worse-for-you version." —Carey Polis, senior web editor
  • EGGPLANT PARMESAN
    "Eggplant parm. Always better cold and a day old." —Brad Leone, test kitchen assistant
  • CHINESE TAKEOUT
    "Most Chinese takeout only seems to improve—sesame noodles are amazing cold." —Meryl Rothstein, senior associate editor
  • LASAGNA
    "Lasagna, eaten spoonful by spoonful straight from the pan in the fridge." —Matt Gross, editor, BonAppetit.com
  • PEANUT BUTTER CUPS
    "Frozen Reese's peanut butter cups." —Cristina Martinez, production director
  • BURRITO
    "A day-old burrito out of the fridge." —Mike Ley, deputy art director

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